American Business Women's Association

Written by Rita in Misc on

 

The phrase women in business covers the participation of women in leadership roles in commerce. Women are underrepresented and underestimated in corporate leadership, making up only 4.8% of CEOs in S&P 500 companies, despite making up 44.7% of total employees.

A businessman or businesswoman is a person involved in the business sector – in particular someone undertaking activities (commercial or industrial) for the purpose of generating cash flow, sales, and revenue by utilizing a combination of human, financial, intellectual and physical capital with a view to fueling economic development and growth. An entrepreneur is a person who sets up a business or businesses.

The term "businessperson" may refer to a founder, owner, or majority shareholder of a commercial enterprise; or it can characterize a high-level executive who does the everyday running and management of a company even if that executive is not the owner. The term may sometimes refer to someone who is involved in an upper-level management role in a corporation, company, enterprise, firm, organization, or agency.

Most of the African-Americans in business were men, however women played a major role especially in the area of beauty. Standards of beauty were different for whites and blacks, and the black community developed its own standards, with an emphasis on hair care. Beauticians could work out of their own homes, and did not need storefronts. As a result, black beauticians were numerous in the rural South, despite the absence of cities and towns. They pioneered the use of cosmetics, at a time when rural white women in the South avoided them. As Blain Roberts has shown, beauticians offered their clients a space to feel pampered and beautiful in the context of their own community because, "Inside black beauty shops, rituals of beautification converged with rituals of socialization." Beauty contests emerged in the 1920s, and in the white community they were linked to agricultural county fairs. By contrast in the black community, beauty contests were developed out of the homecoming ceremonies at their high schools and colleges. The most famous entrepreneur was Madame C.J. Walker (1867-1919); she built a national franchise business called Madame C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company based on her invention of the first successful hair straightening process.

The number of women-owned businesses in the United States is growing at twice the rate of all firms. Currently around 30% of US firms are majority-owned by women. Affirmative action has been credited with "bringing a generation of women into business ownership" in the United States, following the 1988 Women's Business Ownership Act and subsequent measures. Progress has been much slower in most other developed countries. In the UK, for example, it is estimated that just 15% of firms are majority-owned by women.

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